Daily Harvest -- 12/18/2014
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FARM & RURAL POLICY
Agri-Pulse: Obama plan could boost U.S. sales to Cuba, if Congress allows it
- President Obama's plan to ease financial restrictions on trade with Cuba could help reverse a decline in agricultural exports to the island nation, but his move is likely to face stiff opposition in Congress.
Agri-Pulse: Hi-Path bird flu found in wild birds in Washington state
- USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has confirmed the presence of highly pathogenic (HPAI) H5 avian influenza in wild birds in Whatcom County, Washington.
Oil price plunge highlights risk of depending on oil vs renewables
- (Subscriber only) U.S. crude oil prices closed below $60 a barrel last week, the lowest level in over five years and nearly 50 percent below last summer's peak.
Agri-Pulse: NFU objections to RFS policy recommendations report
- (Audio) Some members on the advisory group for the Bipartisan Policy Center report on the RFS are disappointed in the recommendations made. National Farmers Union had two representatives on the working group which met two times this year and they were the only ones to speak for agriculture.
New York Times: Citing Health Risks, Cuomo Bans Fracking in New York State
- Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s administration announced on Wednesday that it would ban hydraulic fracturing in New York State because of concerns over health risks, ending years of debate over a method of extracting natural gas.
CBS Minnesota: U Of M Study Finds Ethanol Worse For Air Quality Than Gasoline
- The study compared pollution levels from gasoline fuel and 10 alternative energy vehicles, including hybrid electric, natural gas and corn-based ethanol.
FOOD & NUTRITION
Radio Boston: Should Environmental Considerations Be Factored Into Dietary Guidelines?
- The committee is working on revisions to those guidelines, due out next year. And for the first time, it’s considering the environmental implications of your food choices. For example, beef might be a good source of protein, but raising cows leaves a much bigger carbon footprint then growing grains and vegetables.
Iowa Public Radio: What's Behind the "Non-GMO" Label?
- Many food companies are seeking certification that their products don’t have any genetically modified ingredients, and not just the brands popular in the health food aisle. Even plain Cheerios, that iconic cereal from General Mills, no longer contains GMOs.
TRADE & INTERNATIONAL
Agri-Pulse: Canada files cross appeal on COOL, questions WTO objectivity
- (Subscriber only) Canada has appealed parts of a ruling by a World Trade Organization panel in October concerning U.S. country-of-origin meat labeling, or COOL, a ruling many following the process thought was in favor of America's Neighbor to the North.
Agri-Pulse: Obama announces plan to end 50-year-old Cuban embargo
- The White House today announced plans to resume diplomatic relations with Cuba and ease a half-century old embargo on travel and commerce with the Communist nation, including trade in agricultural commodities and equipment.
Roll Call: Rubio Threatens To Unravel Obama Cuba Deal
- Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., excoriated President Obama’s plan to normalize relations with Cuba and threatened to hold up efforts to confirm an ambassador and fund an embassy.
Politico: Tom Vilsack: Cuba deal a boon for U.S. farmers
- U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said reforms announced today by President Barack Obama will make it make easier to sell U.S. farm products to Cuba.
Reuters: China GMO corn approval not seen as windfall for U.S. exporters
- Despite molding corn stocks and unreliable alternate suppliers, China is not expected to immediately revive U.S. corn imports following Beijing's expected approval of a biotech variety responsible for a year-long halt to shipments.
Reuters: Syngenta drops lawsuit against Bunge over biotech Viptera corn
- With expectations rising that China will soon approve imports of a genetically modified corn variety developed by Syngenta AG, the seed maker dropped a lawsuit against Bunge North America over the agribusiness company's refusal to handle the controversial grain, court documents show.
Wall Street Journal: China Ban Reversal Paves Way for Corn Byproduct
- China’s surprise decision to reverse a ban on imports of a genetically modified strain of corn paves the way for the resumption of what was once a booming market for a byproduct fed to Chinese livestock.
CONSERVATION, ENVIRONMENT & WILDLIFE
Houston Chronicle: Protections blocked, but sage grouse work goes on
- U.S. wildlife officials will decide next year whether a wide-ranging Western bird species needs protections even though Congress has blocked such protections from taking effect, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said Wednesday.
FARM LABOR & IMMIGRATION
Delta Farm Press: Undocumented workers and agriculture: no easy answers
- A new report delves into the U.S. agriculture sector’s reliance on immigrant labor. Authored by Stephanie Mercier, a former chief economist for the Senate Agriculture Committee, “Employing Agriculture: How the Midwest Farm and Food Sector Relies on Immigrant Labor” looks at how the 12-state region’s agriculture labor force impacts the region.
CBS: Jeb Bush and the perils of immigration
- He's mused out loud, run it by his family, given Republicans a timetable for his decision-making, and now, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has declared he will "actively explore" the possibility of a White House bid.
CNN: Judge: Obama's immigration move unconstitutional
- A federal judge in Pennsylvania ruled Tuesday that President Barack Obama's move to halt deportations for millions of undocumented immigrants violates the Constitution -- but it's not clear that the ruling will have any immediate impact.
The Hill: GOP feels immigration heat
- Republican leaders are so far refusing to telegraph their strategy for combating President Obama’s unilateral action on immigration. But they’re under enormous pressure from the right to act fast.
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